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1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GT 2dr Coupe

1997 Pontiac Grand Prix
Trim Info:
Front Wheel Drive, 2 Door Coupe GT, Mid-Size
19 mpg city / 30 mpg hwy
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April 5, 2011, 7:29 pm

AutomotiveForums M

Question: What is the life span of a thermostat?

1997 Grand Prix - V6 - 3.8L - 160k miles. Had thermostat replaced on 1/27/2010. Recently (4/1/11) took car to Midas for oil change and inspection and was told that the water pump was leaking and car needed tune-up. I was told over the phone that the thermostat also needed to be replaced b/c of the leaky water pump. I informed them that it was just replaced 15 mos. ago. Anyways, they did replace the thermostat and I am trying to confirm whether or not this sounds logical with regards to the defective water pump.

Thank you!

April 6, 2011, 3:56 pm

Elizabeth K

There was no need to replace the water pump if it was just replaced, unless it was faulty. A bad water pump does not indicate that you needed a thermostat. The part is usually about $8-$13, and the labor was probably close to zero, since the coolant was out of the system for the water pump job.

The shop could have changed it out of habit--since it would be doing most customers a service. But the charge should have been minimal. If you did not authorize the repair, they are not allowed to charge you more than 10% over their original estimate. If the repair added anything significant to the bill, I would argue that it was unnecessary.

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April 8, 2011, 6:35 pm

AutomotiveForums M

Thank you, Elizabeth.
Just to be more specific since I believe my message was not very clear. The water pump was not previously replaced. I was concerned about the average life span of a thermostat and wondered if a leaking water pump would affect the thermostat.
However, you have answered my question, thanks.

FYI - It cost approx. $110 for the thermostat (labor & part) and they replaced the water pump, as well. This is the third thermostat in just over three (3) years.

I took the car in for an oil change and asked for an inspection, as well. The invoice that I signed when the car was first taken in was filled out by the cashier and she apparently checked DO NOT RETURN PARTS (after the fact) as I would have requested if I knew they were going to do further service. I was not made aware of this, or I would not have signed it. It is also a policy at MIDAS that...QUOTE: "Any parts with a core value that are returned to the customer will result in an additional charge."

What is that about?

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April 12, 2011, 5:06 pm

Elizabeth K

That was a typo on my end, the first 'water pump' should have read 'thermostat'. Did they charge you an additional $110 for the thermostat that wasn't bad and you didn't give permission for--while they already had the coolant drained for the water pump? That does sound like a rip-off to me.

Was it less than 10% over the original estimate that you signed? If so, contact your state's District Attorney, they usually file can file a claim with a business on your behalf (for free).

For the checked box thing, yes she should have asked, but as you probably know, you should never sign something without reading it.

The additional charge: some parts have a 'core charge' (like brake shoes, alternators, etc). This means that when you go to purchase the parts, the part store will charge you a fee, and refund it to you when you bring them back the old part. They then send this back to the remanufacturer, who rebuilds it and sells it again. If you don't return the old part, you don't get the core charge back. Sometimes it is pretty hefty.

But if you want to see the parts that the shop has removed, just ask to view them. As long as you don't keep them (and keep them from returning them for credit) you shouldn't be charged. If you are, find a different mechanic.

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